ATHENS – Almost as soon as a lockdown aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus began being eased, Greeks pent up for six weeks began gathering in public squares for drunken parties or assemblies violating social distance guidelines designed to prevent the disease from resurging.
Police were called to the main square of the Agia Paraskevi neighborhood in the northern part of the capital after hundreds of young people gathered and refused to disperse, and returned a second night, broken up when tear gas was fired.
There were also gatherings in other squares around Greece’s capital, breaking the image of people who had accepted the stay at home order that began on March 23 and now were openly violating social distancing and taking on the police.
A curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. was placed on the Agia Paraskevi square to prevent any more gatherings from now, the parties fueled by alcohol from establishments allowed to only sell from take-out windows as restaurants and taverns remain shut for now.
Αuthorities are concerned about a trend involving large groups of young people gathering in squares with alcohol from bars and cafes offering takeaway services, said Kathimerini, as police arrested six cafe owners in Attica, Larissa and Lamia for selling alcohol for consumption in the street in violation of the social distancing laws.
The party on Aghiou Ioannou Square in Paraskevi, said Deputy Minister for Civil Protection Nikos Hardalias was a lot more than “just citizens who wanted to relax,” with officials concerned it was more of a drunken party, like another in the eastern port of Volos.